An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
Its been a year since my last 100 mile race. How time flies? Not really. This will be my 4th time to start the Leadville Trail 100 and my 5th time at the distance. I am still a rookie by some standards and a veteran by others. I still find myself somewhere in between. I have a lot figured out and still a lot to learn. This race is an evolving test of fitness, mental fortitude, and problem solving with a dash of luck. All of those things excite me. Until you are actually doing them. Then you question everything. Why am I here? Why am I doing this? Didn't I tell myself I would never do this again? Luckily, I have learned the lesson that those "dark" thoughts come and go. There is probably some nugget of truth to their genesis but ultimately they disappear quickly after the race. Knowing that is the tool that I use to make them not overpower me in the race. But those are all just tricks.
This year has been different building to this event. Aren't they all? Like 2011, I focused on only this race but even more specifically. I made sure not to peak in June like that year. Instead shoot for late July and see how it goes. I think that happened. I had a slower Silver Rush time but just after recovering from that, really felt fit. I will back that up with quicker times on my usual routes with less exertion. But more importantly, my weight. The seasonal drop came and I was suddenly and consistently holding down 147 daily. That's in the range of lowest weight since I started running. Frankly, I think that removal of diet soda played a part as well there. Giving my body actual calories when consuming beverages (when I partake) actually made my body stop craving sweets so much. For lack of a better analogy, diet soda gives you sugar blue balls. You take a drink and your body is ready for the goods but they never arrive. So you spend the rest of the time dealing with the insulin generated and craving other sweets. That has all really halted for me. I am enjoying the change.
The other change this year was that I stopped talking about running here. I don't know why. I was just burnt out on it. Probably some part of it was always trying to be "look at me". But in a good way -- that public showing on the blog of miles run kept me honest for many years. It kept me motivated. When I wanted to bail on that run or just do some pansy excuse for a run, I would think to myself...this isn't going to look good on my blog. I am not going to look like I am building. I better get after it. So it did motivate me. But it doesn't anymore. So it fell by the wayside. This season I ran more what I wanted to. I still got volume but not as much. I am not sure volume would have done much more. Probably more time with some specific training would have. But I only have so much interest in that. So I hope to be one of those runners with a good base who is more rested and is taking it comfortably. Those in my circle of friends that have come in like that have beat me here in years past and I shook my head. How? I worked so hard. Maybe I was burnt up by the time the race started. Or something like that. So I am trying it a different way.
Another big change this year is my attitude towards crew and pacers. I have enjoyed the experiences I have shared with all of those that have supported me over the years. But this year is different. I felt like a little more focus on my own race and not others would be good. As WS100 2012, we had to run about 1/2 the race with no crew or pacer access. It was different. I had a different level of focus. It was all on me. I got in my own head like never before. I want to do that again this weekend a bit. So my sister's familiar face will not be on course this year. So many people have asked me where she is. She is like a fixture here now as well. Maybe she will return someday. My wife just called and our daughter is sick. I don't need the plague coming in to effect my house of runners. So not sure what the plan is now as of writing this with her. Bottom line is that I have packed Leadville drop bags for the first time ever and I am ready to be self-supported through this race. It might cost me a bit of time fumbling through the bags but I might make up some time by not hanging around as there will be no crew to whine to.
For much of the race, I will be solo. However, my arch enemy and good friend, JT, will be running from Twin Lakes to Outward Bound with me. His goal is to slow me down he says. My goal is to drop him. It should be a fun diversion for me mid-race. But then I will set off to conquer those final miles in the dark solo. The end of this race is where I have lost my shit every time. I probably will again. But this time, I plan on picking it up a bit differently.
Finally, in the spirit of change, I decided to cut my hair to match my style this year. I had never done this before and it was kind of a thrill to shave it down.
So bib #429 as shown above. The live race tracking up here last weekend was rather good. Within 15 minutes of aid stations most of the day. Feel free to follow along. We go out at 4 AM Mountain Time Saturday. I hope to be done in the early hours of Sunday. The goal is clear this time. Sub-25. Then maybe, I can find something else to occupy my obsessions next year.